US Forest Service "Celebrating Wildflowers" Website

Celebrate Spring and Wildflowers on our National Forests
As spring continues to show its colors, it’s the perfect time of year to plan a trip to our National Forests to see wildflowers! The U.S. Forest Service offers an exhaustive website to help you learn more and find wildflowers on a National Forest near you. From invasive and rare plants to kids resources and maps, the Celebrate Wildflowers website has something for everyone:

NPS Centennial Celebration Treats

The Park Service turned 100 on August 25, 2016.  While planning the celebration, the Friends of Fort Vancouver wondered; “What could we serve the folks who come for the celebration that would have been a treat in 1916?”

Our Executive Director, Mary Rose, did some digging and found some surprising answers.

In 1916 Nabisco was fairly new and the hands-down winner was OREO's. They were unveiled in 1912 and homemakers could not bake anything similar -- hence their popularity.

Another favorite of the day was the Fig Newton, developed to satisfy the acceptable treatment for "digestive ailments" -- fruit and biscuits. They were introduced in the 1890's and later purchased by Nabisco, thus making them popular "cakes." They were called "cakes" until the 1980's - now we call them “cookies.”

Here's the surprise that spans our Park's eras -- Graham Crackers!  They were introduced in 1829 by Presbyterian minister Sylvester Graham, a vegetarian interested in dietary reform. He developed and marketed the graham diet with graham flour, wheat germ and wheat bran. They were unsweetened and the best "cure" for "carnal desires," according to the good reverend. (They would have been much tastier than hardtack but perhaps they were avoided by sailors or passionate people.)

If we want to go the cake route -- there are Prune Cakes and Plum Puddings (prunes were a popular crop in Clark County for several decades), the latter being tough to serve to crowds but the former is doable.

Oh -- and Trench Cake!  It was already popular in England by 1916 and soon became a popular cake to send to our boys overseas. A type of fruit cake without eggs, a recipe was prescribed by the organized British but I doubt the Americans adhered to any single design. Since they were fruit cakes, prunes may easily have been included. 

Happy Birthday NPS!


Superintendent Tracy A. Fortmann's Comments at the Re-Opening of the Visitor Center

On November 14, 2015 Superintendent Tracy A. Fortmann spoke at the public re-opening of the Visitor Center at the Fort Vancouver National Historic Site.  Following are some excerpts from her comments:


“This building was built in 1961 and was part of a national initiative, with grassroots support.  It was built in anticipation of the National Park Service’s 50th anniversary.  In 1961 this facility was state-of-the-art and was dressed with the latest design and decor of the time.   It was heralded for its use of modern material and geometric design elements.


The building is Mid-Century Modern architecture and the philosophy behind this style of architecture is the desire to bring the outside, or nature, into the building - and the building out into nature.  We did not want to lose that vision - although much of what made this building so amazing in 1962 had been lost through time over the years.  We wanted to reclaim that early day vision - that connection with the outdoors, and especially with this historic place that we all know as Fort Vancouver National Historic Site and the Vancouver National Historic Reserve.


To make the most of this structure and to do it justice would not be an easy task. As we all know, this is a very complex place.  It is a National Park with a Historic Reserve and numerous partners.  It is also a place with seemingly unlimited stories, spanning pre-contact to 20th century, and from indigenous American Indians to U.S. soldiers.  I have never shied way from this complexity as distracting or confusing, but recognized that this place has a power which emanates from its many stakeholders and descendant communities.  Unlike the many other special places that we Americans hold in our hearts, this urban National Park and Historic reserve is more than one historic building, or one history or the commemoration of one event.  All of the histories - indigenous peoples, Lewis and Clark, fur trade, Oregon Trail, aviation,military history from the early 19th century up and through World War II - are interconnected and critical, essential elements of this place.  It is our interconnected stories that lure many, many different people to this place and will always make us relevant.


This newly rehabilitated historic building is the centerpiece of the National Park and the Vancouver National Historic Reserve.  It is warm and welcoming. It is designed to be open and dynamic, with rotating exhibits and hands-on activities for visitors to explore. Our exhibits are inclusive and theme related.  This is not a traditional Visitor Center, it will give voice to the many people and stores; those better known and those not well known. It is also here for the community, and will be host to many lectures, meaningful events, and important meeting opportunities.  Ultimately, for those visiting this place of the first time, this Center is here to whet your appetite and provide you with a few ‘ahas’ and surprises, but then to entice you to get out and spend time in the venues of Fort Vancouver and the Historic Reserve.


…It seems fitting that we are opening this Center as we begin celebrations for the Park’s 100th anniversary.  What a wonderful gift to give to our community, our region, and our nation!”

Lillian Pitt: Getting to Know the Artist

Lillian Pitt is a Native American artist from the Big River (Columbia River) region of the Pacific Northwest. Born on the Warm Springs Reservation in Oregon, she is a descendent of Wasco, Yakama, and Warm Springs people.

She is one of the most highly regarded Native American artists in the Pacific Northwest. Her works have been exhibited and reviewed regionally, nationally and internationally, and she has been the recipient of numerous awards and distinctions. Her awards include the 2007 Earle A. Chiles Award for Lifetime Achievement, and the 1990 Governor’s Award of the Oregon Arts Commission, which declared that she had made “significant contributions to the growth and development of the cultural life of Oregon.” 

Some of Lillian Pitt's jewelry, small masks and pins will be available for sale at the Friends Shop in the Visitors Center of Fort Vancouver National Historic Site.  The Visitors Center is located at 1501 East Evergreen Boulevard, Vancouver, Washington.  

A collection of Lillian Pitt's sculpted masks will be on permanent display at the Visitor Center.

Below are three transcripts from videotaped interviews with Lillian as she discusses some of her work.  Watch a Ted Talk from March 23, 2013 with Lillian Pitt and Toma Villa.

Lillian Pitt – On Celilo Falls
Interview January 7, 2012    21:24 – 22.07

“It stays with me and then if I meditate long enough I can hear the falls, I can hear the roar of it, I could hear, I could feel the mist coming on my face and on my bare feet, I never wore shoes, and um, and feel the coolness of the sand, there was always sand amongst the rocks, you know, and your feet would get cold, you’d just step into the sun, your feet would get hot instantly, you know, because it was always in the sun, and the shade was so cool and so I can just feel and hear and see and smell all of that”

Lillian Pitt – On ‘She Who Watches’
Interview January 7, 2012    31:38 – 32.53

When speaking to an elder – 

“...and she says, well you know, your   [begin]  daddy was born in Tenino – but Tenino isn’t really Tenino that’s just the name of that place – it’s a name of an Indian group and they lived on the mouth of the Deschutes River.  And his mother’s Indian name was Wayuten and her sister’s name was Timix and they were born under the gaze of Shaglalh and so they were the ones who told me about Shaglalh or ‘She Who Watches’ because I kept seeing this image coming back and Mr. Monar kept talking about it and they were the ones who told me about my ancestry and so then I was able to go up and when I first saw her it was such a transformative emotion and it gave me such a tremendous sense of power of self that no one can ever take away.” 

Lillian Pitt – On the Mask at Land Bridge
Interview January 7, 2012   38:20 – 38:43

“It was a Chinook woman. And, I gave her the slanted forehead, that the royal Chinook people get to have, and so it was a wonderful job honoring the Chinook people; And because it was the women who did the trading, they did all the business things, so I wanted to honor the women of the Chinook people.”

*This is where it became unclear to me as to if the mask represented ‘She Who Watches’ or a Chinook woman.